A proposed framework for consensus-based lung tumour volume auto-segmentation in 4D computed tomography imaging.

Document Type


Publication Date



Physics in medicine and biology





First Page


Last Page


URL with Digital Object Identifier



This work aims to propose and validate a framework for tumour volume auto-segmentation based on ground-truth estimates derived from multi-physician input contours to expedite 4D-CT based lung tumour volume delineation. 4D-CT datasets of ten non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients were manually segmented by 6 physicians. Multi-expert ground truth (GT) estimates were constructed using the STAPLE algorithm for the gross tumour volume (GTV) on all respiratory phases. Next, using a deformable model-based method, multi-expert GT on each individual phase of the 4D-CT dataset was propagated to all other phases providing auto-segmented GTVs and motion encompassing internal gross target volumes (IGTVs) based on GT estimates (STAPLE) from each respiratory phase of the 4D-CT dataset. Accuracy assessment of auto-segmentation employed graph cuts for 3D-shape reconstruction and point-set registration-based analysis yielding volumetric and distance-based measures. STAPLE-based auto-segmented GTV accuracy ranged from (81.51  ±  1.92) to (97.27  ±  0.28)% volumetric overlap of the estimated ground truth. IGTV auto-segmentation showed significantly improved accuracies with reduced variance for all patients ranging from 90.87 to 98.57% volumetric overlap of the ground truth volume. Additional metrics supported these observations with statistical significance. Accuracy of auto-segmentation was shown to be largely independent of selection of the initial propagation phase. IGTV construction based on auto-segmented GTVs within the 4D-CT dataset provided accurate and reliable target volumes compared to manual segmentation-based GT estimates. While inter-/intra-observer effects were largely mitigated, the proposed segmentation workflow is more complex than that of current clinical practice and requires further development.